Ah, finally: Yamaha plans to focus on 150cc+ motorcycles for India
On the sidelines of the Ray automatic scooter launch, Yamaha made an interesting announcement. The sporty two wheeler brand from Japan now plans to concentrate on the scooter and the 150cc+ motorcycle segment in India. While the focus on the automatic scooter is understandable given that it is one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian two wheeler market, enthusiasts would be more interested in the latter part of the announcement, of that of the brand now focusing on the 150cc+ segment, in a move that for long has been eagerly expected.
Yamaha made a big comeback in the Indian market, with the unveiling of the R15 sportsbike way back in 2008. Ever since, Yamaha’s fortunes have been on the upswing with both the R15 and the Fz16 being the company’s big volume pullers. That said, the brand, given its sporty image needs to move up from the 150cc segment even as the competition, read Bajaj Auto and Honda, have clearly raised the bar when it comes to high performance, sports motorcycle in India, with the likes of the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS and the Honda CBR250R.
So, with Yamaha now announcing that it plans to launch motorcycles in the 150cc+ segment, expect more powerful offerings from the brand in the coming years. In India, Yamaha has always been synonymous with high performance offerings. Ever since the Rx100 and the RD350 of the 1980s, the brand has given Indian motorcycle enthusiasts plenty to cheer about with motorcycles like the RX135, the RX-Z and the RX-Z 5 speed. In the early noughties though, the move from two stroke to four stroke motorcycles saw Yamaha focusing more on fuel economy, with small capacity four stroke motorcycles in the 100-125cc range.
This period also marked Yamaha’s tryst with the doldrums in India and a decade of falling sales, until the R15 came along and infused the brand with a dose of its high performance credentials that it has always been known for. With the latest announcement from Yamaha, of the move to the 150+cc segment, the expectations are once again building. Let’s hope that Yamaha comes up with another game changing product like the R15, a motorcycle that proved to be the harbinger of a new high performance motorcycle segment in the country, which is now populated by the likes of the KTM Duke 200, the Honda CBR150R, the Honda CBR250R and the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS.